28 March 2011

Post 366: Pump Six and Other Stories

"The Pasho" in Pump Six and Other Stories by Paolo Bacigalupi. ISBN: 9781441892201 (audiobook).

How far would you be willing to go against your culture in order to bring about the change you felt was necessary for your family, your village, your city, your country? Would you go and become a priest of a religion from a country your country was at war with?

It's a hard question to ask, but what if it was necessary? What if you, and only you, believed that it was honestly the best way to improve the lives around you? This is exactly what Raphel has done. He left his Jai village and learned to become a Keli "Pasho". When he returns, he is greeted with pride by some of his family members, save for his grandfather, who fought against the Keli and says he would gladly do so again.

WWe are faced with serious cultural issues which are preventing us from moving forward as a nation, a people, and as a species. It feels like we are a country full of five year olds who have wet the bed. We know that the bed is going to get cold sooner rather than later, we know that it will be uncomfortable and start to smell, but right now that urine is impossibly warm and it is so hard to get out of bed. We are ashamed to admit that we have wet the bed, and no one remembered to turn on the nightlight for us.

I was watching the Colbert Report the other day and the guest was Nobel Prize winner Jodi Williams. The smartest thing she said was, "I believe when there are more different types of humans in a room having a discussion, different ideas for resolution will be had. When you have a bunch of white dudes sitting around a table you're going to have a bunch of white dude ideas." (~5:07) So why are we so afraid of cooperation among political parties, races, religions?

Why is it so hard to take the step to learn about new cultures and incorporate the good aspects into our own? Is it really such a betrayal to step in and say, "Hey, this isn't working anymore, maybe we shouldn't keep feeding those Christians to the lions persecuting those Muslims"? When exactly did our culture get to be so bad for us? And what would you like to see go?

An excellent review from another Goodreads user can be found here.
LibsNote: Copy borrowed from my library.
Also, if you are curious about steampunk and/or this particular volume you can actually read the first story for free over at Google Books. I freakin' love previews.


  1. I just requested this book from the library. Thanks for the recommendation!

  2. You're welcome! I've really been enjoying these stories. I'm listening to them on audio so it's a bit slower, otherwise I'd just want to tear through them. I have yet to listen to one I didn't like or at least didn't find thought provoking.


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